Aira Force

While we all enjoy a bright, dry and sunny day, waterfalls give us all the perfect reason to embrace the damper days too, thanks to rain dialing-up the thrill factor by ensuring cascades of water make a major entrance from the high ground.

Aira Force at Glenridding takes many of the plaudits as one of The Lake District, Cumbria’s best-known waterfalls – but there are many more set to greet you with a roar. Here are a few of our favorites:

Skelwith Force, Skelwith Bridge

Just a ten minute drive to the west of Ambleside, although Skelwith Force waterfall at Skelwith Bridge is one of our smaller waterfalls, it makes a perfect stop-off point for a picnic and a paddle in a lovely clear rock pool.

As one of the easiest beauty spots to reach on this list, it’s also a pleasant walk of just a quarter of a mile from the nearest car park and offers a memorable roar – especially after a bit of rainfall. Accessible thanks to a short pathway, a visit to Skelwith Force also offers visitors the opportunity for further exploration towards Elterwater.

A great place for our inner-photographer, the walk to this waterfall is also suitable for pushchairs – and there’s also the added bonus of stone tables which always come in handy at snack-time!

Rydal Falls, Rydal

Why not combine a visit to Skelwith Force with a trip to the nearby Rydal Falls? Situated just off the A591 between Ambleside and Grasmere, it’s an easy ten minute walk from Rydal Mount – the former home of William Wordsworth.

Colwith Force

Colwith Force, Elterwater

Another waterfall just a short distance from the village of Skelwith Bridge, you can park at the bottom of the hill and enjoy an easy half-mile walk to see it – and combine the visit with a pleasant circular route from Elterwater itself.

Cautley Spout Waterfall, Sedbergh

Located close to the Yorkshire Dales book town of Sedbergh, Cautley Spout is England's highest waterfall, plunging 650 feet down a cliff face in the Howgill Fells. Known for its rugged wilderness this waterfall tumbles down the valley from ‘The Calf’ plateau and is one of only a handful of cascade waterfalls in England.

The walk becomes a little more challenging as you approach the bottom of the waterfall, but hardy explorers will be rewarded by beautiful views all year-round. On a dry sunny day, we advise setting off early to make sure you can find somewhere to leave the car. The Cross Keys Inn is a good place to start. This is also a great place to take your dog, although owners are politely requested to keep them on a lead at all times.

Stanley Ghyll Force, Eskdale

Located in the peaceful western side of The Lake District, Cumbria, the Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall plummets 60 feet into a secluded gorge. Close to the foot of England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, a visit to Stanley Ghyll also offers a car-free method of arrival. Thanks to Dalegarth station being located at the end of the famous Ravenglass and Eskdale narrow gauge steam railway, you can combine your visit to the waterfall with a memorable trip to Cumbria’s beautiful coastline too! Flanked by lovely flowers sprouting from rocky ledges and outcrops, make sure you choose good footwear as the area surrounding the base of the waterfall can become slippery at times.

Ritson Force
©National Trust Images/John Malley

Ritson’s Force, Wasdale Head

Ritson’s Force waterfall is another hidden gem in the western Lake District, nestled snugly in the Mosedale Valley. Ale fans will be pleased to know that it can be accessed by taking a stroll through the beer garden at the Wasdale Head Inn – so there’s never been a more perfect excuse to have a swift pint when you return. Made-up of several small waterfalls, Ritson’s Force also sits close to Scafell Pike so why not combine it with a visit to the aforementioned Stanley Ghyll?

Garrigill Ashgill forceGarrigill Ashgill Force

Located in the famous Pennines and accessible by heading up the South Tyne valley, the approach to Garragill Ashgill Force takes visitors along a small river, before greeting them with a stunning sight of the waterfall cascading down a steep ravine. Another walk which demands suitable footwear, Garragill Ashgill Force is simple to find, with an exciting but challenging downhill walk to the waterfall’s base. A further two smaller waterfalls can be enjoyed along the way, with further walking opportunities over several miles through lush green fields. This walk comes highly recommended if you’ll have any young explorers in tow!

Scale Force, Buttermere

Scale Force can be found part of the way up Scale Fell, close to the shore of Crummock Water.  Tumbling down more than 170 feet, this is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Lake District and is reached easily by parking in Buttermere and following a sign-posted walking route alongside the lake itself.

This largely gentle walk from the village takes you along a quintessential Lake District route, rewarding you with an unforgettable view of both the waterfall and surrounding fells. On a bright day, the clear water sparkles as it pours over the rocks – making this an essential place to visit for those who love to truly get away from it all.

Moss Force, Buttermere

While in the area, why not take a look at Moss Force? Located in the Newlands Pass near Buttermere village, this waterfall is fairly easy to reach – being only 200 yards from the road towards Keswick. If tall waterfalls are your thing, you’ll love this one after a rainy day… The water tumbles down more than 300 feet!

Sourmilk Gill, Seathwaite

Located near Grasmere, Sourmilk Gill takes its name from the white appearance created by the froth and foam that awaits onlookers. There are plenty of car parks to choose from in Grasmere village, but for those who want to follow the route around Easedale Tarn to get there, the Broadgate Meadow car park is the best starting point.

Rutter Force
© National Trust Images/James Dobson

Rutter Force

Best-known for its annual Horse Fair, the town of Appleby also boats one of the lesser-known waterfalls in Cumbria: Rutter Force. Widely agreed by visitors a “must see”, Rutter Force is a great place to stop-off at, where marvelous views of the waterfall await everybody who makes the short walk from the road. Whether it’s a sunny day or a wet day, this is always an impressive waterfall and can be rather surprising as it flows from only a small beck. This peaceful discovery is accessible by crossing a ford and a well-maintained footbridge across the beck.

Lodore Falls

Directly behind the hotel of the same name, Lodore Falls is accessible through beautiful woodland. Signposted from car parks along the shore of Derwentwater, the stunning beauty of the waterfall is equaled by the scenery en-route.

Upon arrival, visitors will be greeted by the loud roar of the waterfall – which, as you can imagine, is especially impressive after a spell of rain. Why not keep an eye on the forecast and take a look on a dry day after a wet one?

The walk to the top is steep in places, but well worth it. Suitable footwear and a camera are essential. A small National Trust car park is nearby, and this provides a great little additional adventure for those enjoying any day out around the Derwentwater area.

Dash Falls

(Image National Trust)

Dash Falls

Offering beautiful views of the countryside, Dash Falls sits high above the old road to Skiddaw House and is a collection of several smaller waterfalls. One of author Alfred Wainwright’s favourite places, Dash Falls consists of several smaller waterfalls from the bottom of Bakestall.

Sitting alongside part of the Cumbria Way walking route, Dash Falls is accessible from either Keswick or from Peter House Farm, on a small road to Orthwaite from the A591 as you leave Keswick. Leave the car in a small parking area nearby and set-out on the challenging but enjoyable 45 minute walk from the road, with fantastic views awaiting you from the top.




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